Are we “getting” our Customers and Jobs right?


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I have been thinking a lot lately about the why, who, what and how of Social CRM. Since we have passed the top of the hype-curve (did we?) we are increasingly seeing discussions on how we should not forget about the “old jobs” companies and Customers are trying to do, and that we just added some new tools to perform these jobs. I see argumentations that we should not overemphasize on these new tools, since it is still all about the Customer and his “old” jobs.

I also see argumentation for and against the existence of the Social Customer. (please check the good discussion on all of this at Mike Boysen’s post and Mitch Lieberman’s post). Last, but not least, in the solutions vendors are offering or developing I also recognize that Social CRM is currently implemented as nothing more than Social Media + CRM, regardless of what I and others have been arguing against this.

I just can’t help thinking this cannot be it. Something inside me tells me we did not yet “crack the code”.. Why? Here are some of my random thoughts and questions:

  • If it’s all about Customers and the jobs they are trying to do, are vendors focusing on the right Customers?
  • Are vendors not only focusing on their Customers and what they are trying to achieve?
  • Should they not be thinking more about their Customer’s Customers?
  • Are we focusing on the right job-to be done?
  • Should vendors not be thinking on how their solutions can help align their Customer’s job with their Customer’s Customer job when using the product or service?
  • Should vendors not be developing solutions that help their Customer’s Customers create more value with the products/services they buy?
  • Or even better: solutions that help Customer’s Customer create value with Customer’s Customer?
  • Does this not seriously change the job of the Company from selling & retaining Customers to helping Customers (co-)create value in use?
  • What resources, data, information or actionable insights should be captured / created / pulled / made available to all stakeholders (in real time?) to make this possible?
  • Are we focusing on the right tools to get the (new) job done?
  • Do we really want to visualize the Social Networks to see how people are related?
  • Does sentiment analysis of chatter on the Social Web really matter?
  • Do we not need (real time) visualizations of the Customer’s Customer Experience?

To summarize: Are we getting our Customers, our Jobs and our tools right?

Let me know what you think? Share your thoughts and idea’s, examples, or just what comes to mind after reading this. I’m sure we’ll figure it out, somehow and sometime. Although going downhill on the hype-curve could still be a long way. Or can we get ahead of it?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Wim, many years ago, I was a young product manager working for Rockwell International and my bosses bosses boss, VP Worlwide Sales talked about three customers, one a brewery, one NASA and one a car manufacturer. In his presentation he didn’t say a word about how they use our microcomputers in their production. All he did was to explain what the companies major concern was, how they sell and what their customers value was. I learned a lot about brewery, I learned a lot about NASA’s political challenges and how Saturn is creating a unique customer community with their car owners. That was in the 80’s.

    More Specialization
    And while there is no change in the above described needs, we live in a way more complex world today. Nature deals with it with a concept called “specialization”. Through Social Media in particular but watching the evolution of our society in general we discover: We need to further specialize. Sales is no longer just a “selling body” but engages in more an more complex relationships. Marketing is no longer just blasting out advertising but is deeper and deeper embedded in a networked response system. Product management is no longer just coming up with new features based on some surveys but co-creating products with others. And within each of those teams we see more specialization.

    The Social CRM dilemma:
    Our current Social CRM discussion however points in the opposite direction. Many discuss an all encompassing strategy, philosophy tool set to do everything around the customer. I hear “Social CRM is not only sales but so much more including service, marketing, and even other departments. We try to catch all – but end up with nothing.

    If we want to help our customer so THEY have more successful customers wouldn’t it be an interesting idea to follow nature and *increase* the level of specialization rather than trying to be a generalist – building a ocean boiling mega system or “global strategy model”.

    The “decompression of customer engagement” which makes all customer facing units within an organization engaging with the customer is a good thing – but it requires further specialization of each group to make this successful.

    All of the above calls for an overhaul of a “Corporate Business Strategy” including all departments within an organization. That strategy may be focusing on a new customer experience model that understands a good customer experience as one where the customer is more successful in his business.

    Just my 2 cents



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